The Problem with Gamer's Nostalgia

The Problem with Gamer's Nostalgia

will_smith.jpg We all do it, myself included. We look at 'classic' games through nostalgic glasses, remembering the good times we had with games "back in the day". This GamersWithJobs story about gamer nostalgia hits the nail on the head--we're much more forgiving the first time we experience a new gameplay mechanic, and we (as gamers) expect to see constant refinement and improvement as we play new games.

Going back and playing Goldeneye or Half-Life now just wouldn't be as amazing an experience as it was when we first played. With a few notable exceptions, when I revisit my old favorites they don't seem as awesome I remember them being.

While I agree with the GamersWithJobs guys basic premise--older doesn't necessarily mean better--there are still lessons to be learned from classic games. The biggest problem many of today's games face is accessibility. While a few modern games do a decent job guiding you through the early portions of the game in an entertaining and still informative way, most just force you through a tedious tutorial level or worse; they toss you into the fray with no idea what to do. Making a gamer's first 10 minutes with your game tedious and un-fun is a sure-fire way to guaranty that they don't buy the sequel.



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To me its the whole experience that I reflect back on, not just the game itself. I still play NES and SNES titles on the original consoles. I tried using emulators and playing them on the PC but I missed the feel of the NES controller and had to go find an old NES and get it working again. Nothing beats the blisters you get after a 3 hour slug-fest on Mike Tyson's Punch Out lol. To tell the truth, I have been a huge fan of RPG's since the first time I played The legend of Zelda, then moved on to the Dragon Warrior and early Final Fantasy games, however to this day, I have not found an RPG that I enjoy near as much as Chronotrigger on SNES. Sure that graphics arent great and by now Ive probably done everything (ok, I have never managed to win the drinking competition at the fair) possible, but its still just a fun game to play.

So maybe not all nostalgia is "golden memories" I think to a certain point games were created with vision and emotion that seems to be missing from todays high graphics cash cows. Doesn't mean I'll stop buying and playing new games, just means I wont be junking my ancient consoles until I have to.

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